Summertime just isn't summertime without a few blockbusters, but there's always that one movie that stands out from the rest as the best of the best. The summer of 2013 has some great contenders, including the hits "Evil Dead" and "The Great Gatsby." So which summer movie of 2013 holds that much sought-after and distinctive honor of an all-time favorite label? The answer depends on the criteria used in making the selection.
Box office figures often are cited in declarations of the movies that are all-time favorites. Based solely on gross box office revenue, "Iron Man 3" was a slam dunk all the way around for both Disney and Marvel Studios. The third installment of the trilogy had a huge budget of $200 million and brought in a mind-boggling $1.2 billion at the box office worldwide. This behemoth of the summer had an unusual release schedule that didn't sit well with North American Tony Stark fans, since the movie opened a week earlier in the international market. The earlier international opening at the box office allowed "Iron Man 3" to beat out another summer favorite "The Avengers." "Iron Man 3" walked away with records for the biggest opening weekend in box office sales and the biggest opening day in multiple locations around the globe. In addition, "Iron Man 3" garnered the prize for grossing the second biggest domestic opening ticket sales in North America. These are just box office figures that don't include the sales generated from movie tie-ins, like toys, comics, and the eventual sale of DVDs. Currently, "Iron Man 3" is the thirteenth-highest grossing film ever and is the highest-grossing film of 2013 so far. At the end of its opening day in North America, "Iron Man 3" raked in nearly $70 million, making it the seventh-highest-grossing opening days for a film and a viable choice for all-time summer favorite.
A top-grossing movie is not necessarily the most profitable, though. After all, if a film with a budget of $3 million grosses $81 million at the box office, the production might be the most profitable film of the summer, even if the movie isn't the top-grossing film of the summer. Such is the case with "The Purge," the psychological thriller starring Ethan Hawke that revolves around the plot of a society allowed to commit crimes without consequences for one night each year. This creepy movie produced the aforementioned profit of $78 million. By this measurement, "The Purge" brought in 39 times as much money as it cost to make. Although "The Purge" received mixed reviews from its critics, the production proved to be a good investment for its creators, and a sequel is currently in the works from Universal Studios and Blumhouse.
For those who favor quality over quantity, the best way to determine the all-time favorite movie for the summer is according to critical acclaim. In other words, which movie do the critics love this summer? That award appears to go to "Man of Steel," due largely to the fact that it was marketed to the max and backed by star power, including Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, and Diane Lane, not to mention the sultry Henry Cavill, who throws off his noble roots as the Duke of Suffolk from "The Tudors" fame to channel the Man in Blue himself. The cast of characters alone was enough to get critics' tongues wagging favorably before the movie was even released. That same all-star lineup also drew moviegoers into the theaters in droves—including some audiences who would not particularly care for a superhero flick in its most traditional sense or who wouldn't know the first thing about a comic-book hero.
"Iron Man 3," "The Purge," and "Man of Steel" are a few possibilities for the all-time favorite movie of the summer of 2013 from the perspective of box office numbers, sheer profitability, and critical acclaim. If this summer's list of blockbusters is telling of what can be expected in summers to come, movie fans are in for a real treat for the summer of 2014.